The International Literary and Artistic Association

The movable-type printing press invented around mid-15th century and attributed to Johannes von Gutenberg has brought enormous benefits to humanity, because it made books accessible to everyone, thus contributing to the spreading of hardcopy works (which replaced the very expensive and quite rare parchment) and of knowledge in general.

However, the press also allowed for book theft, turning the new form of piracy into a successful business, which deprived the actual authors and the editors from important revenues, which were rightfully theirs.

Thus, in the 19th century, France was invaded by the works of successful authors printed in other countries, without the authors’ consent, who were not remunerated, while in the US, there was a plethora of non-English speaking authors’ works, as well as of translation of works from other languages. Since the phenomenon was widespread and highly prejudicial to both writers and editors, they started to join hands to defend their rights.

This is why in 1837, La Société des gens de lettres – SGDL was established in France, with founders such as Louis Desnoyers and Honore de Balzac, and upon whose initiative the International Literary Association was established on June 28, 1878, which, after the artists were co-opted, became The International Literary and Artistic Association – ALAI. Despite its name (“Literary and Artistic Association”), this is a purely scientific endeavor, its purpose, as stated in its very Bylaws, being to ensure the international observance and protection of copyright.

After another eight years and the intense activity of ALAI, on September 9, 1886, the Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works was signed, a convention that, alongside the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, signed in Paris, in 1883, lays the basis of the international intellectual property law. The conclusion and adoption of this convention was the primary and most important goal of the Association.

The first (honorific) chairman of the ALAI was Victor Hugo (who also was a member of the SGDL), and M. Djuvara, a Romanian citizen, was appointed on the first Executive Board of the Association.

On the date of our acceptance as members, the chairman of the ALAI is Frank Gotzen (Belgium), while Ysolde Geandreau (Canada), Jane Ginsburg (USA), Silke von Lewinsky (Germany), Juan Jose Marin (Spain), Jan Rosen (Sweden) and Pierre Sirineli (France) are deputy chairpersons and Fabienne Brison is the Secretary General, all intellectual property law and new technology professors. It is, however, a duty of honor for us to mention that the adhesion of the ALAI Group of Romanian to ALAI was also supported by Mr. Mihaly Ficsor, a member of the Executive Board, made up of the representatives of all 34 national groups.

Now, the following national groups are part of ALAI: ALAI South Africa, ALAI Argentina, ALAI Austria, ALAI Belgium, ALAI Brazil, ALAI Canada, ALAI Chile, ALAI Cyprus, ALAI Columbia, ALAI South Korea, ALAI Croatia, ALAI Denmark, ALAI Switzerland, ALAI Finland, ALAI France, ALAI Germany, ALAI Greece, ALAI Iceland, ALAI Israel, ALAI Italy, ALAI Japan, ALAI Mexico, ALAI Norway, ALAI Paraguay, ALAI Netherlands, ALAI Poland, ALAI Portugal, ALAI Czech Republic, ALAI United Kingdom, ALAI Spain, ALAI United States, ALAI Sweden, ALAI Hungary and ALAI Uruguay.

The key goal of ALAI is to protect and support the rules ensuring the international protection of copyright and related rights, the draw up of studies pertaining to the field of copyright and related rights, the participation in the works of the national or internationalorganizations that have the same goals, the improvement, by review, of the existing international conventions and/or the draw up of new ones.

ALAI is consulted by public EU institutions, by the law courts within the EU and the various states, by the World Intellectual Property Organization and the World Trade Organization, it liaises with education and legal research institutions and drafts, upon request or upon its own initiative, studies, reports, legislature and convention drafts, and yearly organizing its own international conference on topics of interest and concern for the field of copyright.

ALAI has honorific members (who are independent and exempt from the obligation to pay the membership fee) and associated members, who may be natural persons (independent) or legal entities. The latter, legal entities, must have at least seven members and be affiliated to a national association operating in the same field as ALAI, must be approved by the Executive Board (becoming the “ALAI Group (nationality)”) and pay a periodical fee (membership fee) in the amount established by the Board. The appurtenance to a national group that was admitted in the ALAI automatically grants the capacity as member of the ALAI.